Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ambroisie


It all started when I went on a snowshoeing trip back in mid February with a couple of coworkers. I promised my friend, Elaine, that I would bake her kids some cake if she'd go with us (the plan was that she was supposed to go anyway without my cake offer), so that she wouldn't feel so bad leaving the family for the weekend. Long story short, she had been "reminding" me about it a few times a week for 2.5 months! Yeah, she is not the shy kind or anything, she would definitely do anything to get her way to the cake. She even made request that it has to be chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate, and no alcohol please (demanding, I know). I had persuaded her to opt for the fruity one, but she was firm on chocolate. While the rest of the world (or US) is putting their best effort to showcase the summer jewels (read: strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, lemon), here I am making a chocolate cake in the middle of Spring. But if I'm making a chocolate cake, there's no way that I would make a plain chocolate cake without putting some twist to it.

It "only" took me a few months to finally get to it, and I didn't pick the easy one either. I have been in love with Hidemi Sugino's creations for the longest time, along with Pierre Herme, Sadaharu Aoki, and a few others. One of his most popular dessert, which is also the cover of the book is Ambroisie, a chocolate mousse cake layered with two different kinds of joconde (chocolate and pistachio), raspberry garniture, pistachio mousse, and covered in shiny chocolate glaze. It sounded pretty intimidating looking at the many components, given the fact that I haven't been making much entremets lately due to time constraint, and indeed it took me no less than two weeks to finish the whole thing! No, it is not that hard really, but since time is so difficult to find lately, I was just proud to be able to even finish this cake. I would say the difficult part was trying to figure out the how-to's since the instruction is in Japanese and my skill level in that department is pretty much negative, I can only rely on my very-limited-to-baking-ingredients French, but if you know the basic preparation to make mousse, bavarian cream, joconde, it is doable.


Each joconde, chocolate and pistachio, was made differently. The chocolate joconde was made with regular almond powder and powdered sugar, while the pistachio was made with 50/50 almond paste. The chocolate mousse was made without gelatin and rely solely to set from the chocolate itself, I should have refrigerated it in the mold a little longer than overnight, but it was my last day before vacation, so it had to be done.


The layering could be more straight, and I probably should have a thicker pistachio mousse, but overall, the cake was delicious! Just like any other Hidemi Sugino desserts, even though it has a lot of components, it is so light. I didn't get to taste more than a spoonful but it was enough to convince me that Mr. Sugino is a genius in the pastry world, even the pickiest eater of all time (read:M), said that he would eat the whole thing if he was given the whole individual cake, that itself making all the effort worth it.

It only makes me more eager to get back to making entremets, especially now that strawberry season is here! I started to go farmers' market almost every Sunday now when the weather is nice, and I was so delighted to see that my favorite strawberry stall was there! Immediately I bought 6 baskets of strawberries last week, sweet and tasty as I remember it to be. I also found blueberries, and cherries! A little early maybe for the cherries, but hey I am not complaining. I also got those tulips from the most gorgeous flower stall called "super tulips" and they are indeed SUPER! So many good stuff floating around, I haven't even had the time to play with blood oranges, meyer lemons, now add strawberries and cherries to the list. But anyways, I'm trying to savor every minute of the wonderful days we've been having, although the weather here has been back in Winter mode again for the past week and rain too. I still hope I can get more free time in the kitchen by myself to play around.


I am now buried in blue macarons and have made no less than 500 macarons in a few days (including the failed ones), more on this on later post. Other than that, it seems like we're back in Winter weather, temperature dropped to low 60's max during the day, it's been raining for 5 straight days and I cannot wait to start wearing shorts, skirts, mini dresses, without having to worry about freezing.

As far as recipes, I am really struggling to find the time and try to write it down, especially since the book is in Japanese (and I have no idea how to read it). I start planning on the Spring Cleaning of my freezer though and I cannot wait to get to it!

9 comments:

Keren said...

How does the inside look like? You don't normally show it I noticed for all the desserts you made.

Zoe said...

You are always very delicate with your cake making. These are so lovely.

Bertha said...

Keren: I do have a pic of the inside but it was a terrible shot, I might post it just to show you though. Yes, I don't normally show the inside of my cakes 90% of the time because they're mostly for birthdays which happens late at night, so i wont get a good pic anyway, also most of these cakes were photograph just minutes away before going to work. Will try to show more in the future :)

Zoe: Thanks!

Annette said...

Will this trump the ferrero rocher cake?

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

That looks gorgeous, Bertha. I agree, try showing us more pics of the inside, even if they are horrible pictures [which, with your photography, I doubt can happen]

ben said...

I wish I had the courage to attempt those tempered chocolate decorations!

travellingfoodies said...

brilliant job, Bertha! this is the first recipe showcased in Sugino's book but looks so fiendishly difficult to make!

Marta said...

You desserts always impress me!!! Can I ask you how to you get your ganache so shiny? it looks so amazing!

Bertha said...

Marta: Thanks! this is not a ganache, it is chocolate glaze :)